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GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

BEAUTY IN THE DIRT |

September 05, 2007

BEAUTY IN THE DIRT
Name: Teflon Don
Posting date: 9/5/07
Stationed in: Ramadi, Iraq
Milblog url: actuepolitics.blogspot.com

Last night was beautiful.

Iraqi cities look something like others that I've seen, and the fertile stretches along the river are less impressive than the green farmland back home. The desert, though -- the desert is different. The sky was clear of dust and haze. We were far past the lights of the city, and the stars shone soft and brilliant. The Milky Way stretched out overhead like a band of cotton. I heard bats launch from their hiding places in the abandoned buildings, and shrill aloft on their hunt for food. Somewhere overhead and out of sight, an owl hooted and swooped for his own dinner.

There's a stark beauty in the desert. In the daytime, it seems more harsh than at night. The sun beats the dust bone dry, and the wind drives it with a force that occasionally threatens to rip the body into atoms. The night is more subtle -- the sand cools, and both the sky and ground come alive with predators.

The bats and owls are not the only ones. Once I saw what seemed to be a herd of scorpions moving blackly across the road, pinchers waving. Camel spiders emerge from holes, skittering impossibly fast in search of those same armored denizens. Scattered across the desert are moving dirt bumps that turn into hedgehogs as you approach.

The parched soil rises and falls in abstract patterns laid down over years -- the product of men with earthmovers as much as wind and winter rain. Here and there the lines of hills fall sharply where the dirt has collapsed away to form jagged cliffs; dust pools below the precipice, below the fox holes and lizard lairs.

Somehow, in the midst of the broad, bleak expanse, life continues. The harsh conditions strip away some of the layers of complexity common to other environments. It's a hot-or-cold, night-or-day, life-or-death duality of existence -- the yin-yang of the world.

I find myself enthralled by it.

Comments

This is an incredibly beautiful view of the world you're in, Don. I appreciate it more than I can tell you! I applaud your willingness to see love in other than your backyard.

I really wish that everyone could see the world through your enthralled eyes.

Take care............

That is an incredible description of the beauty of the desert! Thank you very much for sharing that with us.....i've never heard anything like that before.....breathtaking

God bless you and good luck!


You do good... thanks
for giving us such
beautiful pictures
with your words.

This is beautiful! You are blessed to be able see and appreciate the beauty in the simpler things during your tour. I share the love of nature out there too and find that the silver lining is that I can't quite see the stars as clearly as when I'm home in the city. Thanks for sharing and be safe.

Your use of imagery really made this place come alive! It sounds beautiful, and I hope that everyone comes safe. Good Luck!

You paint quite a picture with your words! I enjoyed reading of this night in Iraq as it deeply contrasts the pictures we may see on our local television channel. It lifts my heart to know that you can take time to acknowledge the beauty that surrounds you in such a difficult time. Thank you for all that you do!

Thanks for the blog! It inspires hope, and you write very descriptively. It helps us to imagine some beauty among the turmoil. Take Care.

The description was simply beautiful and full of wonderful detail. I felt like I could close my eyes and actually feel as if I was there.

thanks for the words! the description makes me almost want to visit. keep writing. good luck!

I craved to impart you for this high content!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and I acquire you bookmarked your diary to ascertain out the new choke you move in the time.

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